Wednesday, October 17

Gloria Steinhem Would Spit On Me

Last weekend, among the dozen other things I accomplished (yes, I did get the air trap cleaned out and it works much better, thank you) I bought a bunch of plants and some mulch. I bought mostly pansies because I like to put them in during the fall and know that they will probably provide me with small splashes of color through the winter. Come spring they will really take off and I'll get a great deal of pleasure from them. I also got some mums to go in the big planters because mums just go with fall and they'll look good there in their various colors. With luck I can make them last.

Then it came time to buy the mulch. I've put this off because of one major obstacle. They'll put it in the car for me at the garden center, but they won't come home and transfer it to the back yard for me. Have you ever hefted a bag of mulch? First of all, a bag is nearly as long as I am tall. Second, they are heavy at roughly 40 pounds. But if that was all, I probably could still manage it. My problem is the way the mulch is always packaged: in nearly flat bags only a few inches thick. This makes for a very awkward weight unless you can throw the bag over your shoulder, and I can't. My shoulder is barely wide enough to hold up my bra strap. The only access to my back yard is through the house and down one story. I gave serious consideration to tossing it over the deck railing but I'm pretty sure that would have created a big mess when it hit the ground. Whump! There'd be mulch all over the yard and little left for where I really need it. What do do?

Well there was only one thing to do. I swallowed my pride and put on my very best "I'm just a helpless person of the female persuasion" expression. I know, I know - I am woman, hear me roar and all that jazz. Listen, God might have created us all to be treated equally, but we don't all have equal upper body strength and this would be true even if I were taller, say of average height.

I found a guy at the garden center who looked easily mani- uh - understanding, and I pointed out that the companies that package the mulch (and, FYI, top soil as well) are unfairly inclined to assume that a man will always be around to handle the bags. Which doesn't make much sense to me. In most households, men might do the mowing and raking, but the women usually attend the flowerbeds. It's a cliche, I know; but it's also true. Also, these days more and more women own their own homes and so are handling more and more of the chores usually relegated to the male in the house. It doesn't matter so much for the most part because, for the most part, a woman is just as likely to be capable of dealing with the chores as a man is. We may not have the muscle strength, but with a little ingenuity there is little that we can't accomplish.

For instance, take my recycling bin. I have an open plastic bin less than two feet high which is more than adequate. But it doesn't take the addition of too many glass bottles and jars before the bin becomes really heavy. And again, I'm small so it's also an awkward weight, although not as bad as the mulch bags. The bin sits on my back deck and only needs brought through the house and put down on the front walk. Easy when it's light. Not so much when it's half full. This is where a little ingenuity can accomplish a lot.

Last winter I got new flooring put in on the first floor. It's the laminate stuff and it's beautiful and lives up to every bit of the advertising. I would definitely and without hesitation recommend it to anyone. Upon getting the floors put in we had ceramic casters fitted to the bottoms of most of the furniture - the heaver stuff at least. These things are easy to find in hardware stores, Walmart, and so forth. They're great. They come in various sizes and shapes and are self adhesive. They make moving even the heaviest piece of furniture a very simple job and it just so happened that we had some spares left over. So a few weeks ago I got smart and put a few on the bottom of the recycling bin. Let me tell you, I can slide that baby through the house now like nobody's business. And since they aren't obtrusive, like wheels would be, I don't worry much about them getting broken off when I drag it down the few steps out front. It works brilliantly, if I do say so myself. Next I'm drilling holes at one end and attaching rope handles. Then it will be perfect.

But I have digressed. Back to the mulch situation. As I explained to the guy at the garden center, I can get the mulch through the house, just not the way it is packaged. It's simply not very portable for the weight. I looked as pitiful as I possibly could during my explanation and then launched into what I thought would be a fairly easy solution, with his help. Since the problem was the way the weight was distributed, the solution was to break it up into more manageable packages. My concern was that this would violate some kind of store regulation. However, I guess I pulled off the 'poor pitiful Pearl' act pretty well because he agreed that if I went ahead and purchased a bag, he would collect some plastic grocery-style shopping bags and distribute the mulch amongst them. And it worked. He had to break it into six separate bags, but I'm able to carry up to four of them at a time so it's really just a matter of two trips, and won't involve a nasty wood chip explosion in the back yard.

Yes I resorted to playing the helpless damsel which is a role I usually sneer at. But honestly, Gloria, we're not really created equal to men. They have all the brawn and sometimes we have to bat our eyelashes to get things accomplished. However, the distribution of assets is not entirely unfair because we got the brains. All I did was employ some of those brains to a satisfactory conclusion.


Mary said...

Hey, that's why men have muscles, right? And I understand that it makes men feel really good if they can help a poor (seemingly) helpless female.
So you're saving your back and making someone feel good. Win-win. Gloria can take a hike.

me said...

You think Gloria carries her own 40-lb bag of mulch? You think she does her own gardening?! I say, brains over brawn every time. You got the brains, woman, you win.

GatorPerson said...

Casters, huh? Clever.

I have this vision of a sturdy pole on your deck. Attached to the pole is a metal arm; and a pulley and rope are attacked to the arm. And there's a big basket attached to the other end of the rope. So.... You take stuff to the deck, put it into the basket, pull it up with the rope until it's above the railing, swing the arm so the basket is outside the deck, and slowly release the rope so the basket goes to the ground.

This way, when Cerise comes to play in your back yard, you have a way to get her there.

GatorPerson said...

1. If the hot turns off in the opposite direction from the cold, remember that you must screw/unscrew in Opposite directions cold vs. hot.

2. Things that won't unscrew and should can benefit from a serious squirt of Liquid Wrench, to be found at the hardware store. The stuff is magic when it comes to freeing up "frozen" joints.

McB said...

GP? Why are the pulley and rope attacking the arm? What did it ever do to them?

GatorPerson said...

They're jealous.

McB said...

Maybe you could make the arm long enough that I can position it over specific areas of the back yard and then just lower things to the specific spot I need them. That would be good.